Weird Kitties: Best Dramatic Presentation (Longform) Open Thread

Or, as I really do think of the category, "all the stuff that's probably going to lose to Star Wars," a film I would be shocked to find on my ballot given my dislike for both the franchise and the director. Call me cynical.

I'll almost certainly be nominating Ex Machina, Mad Max: Fury Road and, as the image suggests, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, in its entirety (as I think it's better-suited to this category than short form, where one would have to pick an episode). I've kind of got a slot pencilled in for The Martian, but I also probably won't actually get around to seeing it in theaters to make sure of this. (I'd love to hear opinions of it.) 

Past that, I'm keeping my last slot open. The Force Awakens. Right now neither of the Marvel movies are making my list. I'm tempted to look at Daredevil, which I feel is better-suited due to the "all at once" release model of Netflix, but I'm also loathe to put too much television here. Jessica Jones is also a much more likely pick if I go that route. It ...

And do you know what she said? Her most famous quotation? (The Last War in Albion Book Two Part 13: Before Watchmen: The Comedian)

Previously in The Last War in AlbionAlan Moore and Grant Morrison's differences of opinions are numerous, but one of the most fundamental differences comes in their relationship to the atomic bomb. Both were profoundly concerned with nuclear warfare, but for Morrison it was a childhood fear he found respite from in superheroes, whereas for Moore it was an adult concern he worked through using superheroes as a metaphor.

In many ways, this is the heart of the disagreement between Pax Americana and Watchmen. Morrison sees superheroes as creatures of immense possibility whose value is as aspirational figures. For him it is the interminability of superhero narratives that is most interesting - the fact that characters get reinvented over and over again, with new ideas and new takes, and that the stories never have to come to an end. Whereas to Moore, at least in Watchmen, what is interesting are the limitations of superheroes - of what they are incapable of doing and representing. The superheroes of Watchmen are known archetypes that the audience has seen a hundred times before, only taken to logical endpoints. The point isn’t the possibility of the characters, it’s the impotence of them. Put ...

Under the Lake Podcast

This week I'm joined by James Murphy of Pex Lives to discuss Under the Lake and, in typical Eruditorum Press style, a myriad of other topics, some of which actually have an obvious relationship to Under the Lake. Perversely, we manage to go on half an hour longer than Jane and I did about an actually good story. I have no explanation. You can get it here, in any case.

Tricky Dicky, Part 2: The Mirror Effect

Bit of an unplanned diversion for the Tricky Dicky series, this. Normal service to be resumed soon. (This series was always intended as a free-associating ramble.) We're going to Shakespeare, albeit not in the way originally planned, so Spoiler Warning… um, for a play first performed about 423 years ago. Oh, and Trigger Warning, for discussion of recent violent acts, and some hardcore misogyny.

Apparently, the guy who recently murdered nine innocent people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon - let his name go unmentioned and unspoken, and be forgotten, for he is unimportant as an individual; and he made himself so – had the audacity to leave behind lots of written complaints at the site of his killing spree. They were mostly about not having a girlfriend, and about feeling that everybody else was crazy.

Oh, boo hoo. Join the fucking club, you fucking asshole. Most people have gone through the same or similar things at one time or another. A lot of people have gone through a lot worse.  What gives you the right to express your displeasure at a routine and banal human experience by violating other people’s right to live?

Thing is… this is basically the ...

Comics Reviews (October 7th, 2015)

From worst to best of what I paid money for, sometimes reluctantly.

Avengers #0

So let's start with why Marvel can go fuck themselves, which is releasing three $5.99 books in the same week, two of them preview books (the third being Amazing Spider-Man #1, which is what, the second one in two years?). Seriously, could none of these have been launched on last week's super-light week? It's not as though the preview book is a pinnacle of comic art, since a typical preview book consists of eight-pagers that have to intrdouce a premise and then not do anything with it because someone might buy issue #1 without buying the preview. Frankly, this is the sort of shit that should be being released for free online, since it's advertising. This book is literally the reader paying to have these books marketed to them. Anyway, despite that there are some promising titles in here - I love Al Ewing's take on America Chavez, and Uncanny Avengers actually catches my eye, not least because Duggan is good. But all that means is that the advertising was effective for other books - it doesn't make this any less ...

City of the Dead: Dr. Terror's House of Horrors

Along with Pex Lives itself and the Shabcast, one of the podcasts Eruditorum Press picked up when we took Kevin and James onboard was Holly Boson and James Murphy's City of the Deadpodcast, which is looking at all of the releases from Amicus Films in turn. Readers of this site probably know Amicus best for the two Peter Cushing Dalek films, but on the whole they're better known for a series of horror anthology films that James described to me as a sort of cut-rate Hammer Horror. Today we've got a look at Dr. Terror's House of Horrors, a five-part anthology film featuring Peter Cushing as Dr. Terror instead of as Dr. Who, telling the awful fates of people on a train. You can grab that here.

Attentive listeners have already gotten to hear Holly back on Shabcast 12 talking about Kesha, and it's my pleasure to give you all another dose; she's one of the smartest voices in fandom right now, and it's our sincere hope that she'll be doing a lot more work for us here.

iCompton: Dre as Apple Product

August 7th, 2015 will presumably not join January 24th, 1984 and October 23, 2001 on the list of celebrated Apple anniversaries. This will, I suspect, be a mistake. The release of Compton (all together now, “Dr. Dre’s first new album in sixteen years”) is every bit as significant a cultural moment as the Macintosh and the iPod, even if its status as a pop moment is likely to obscure its status as a moment in the history of tech culture, and, more broadly, the way it positions Dre as the king of both Compton and Cupertino, for good and for ill.

The album is, after all, an Apple product, even if it says Aftermath/Interscope on the label. Because, of course, there wasn’t a physical label when the album was released: it was an Apple Music/iTunes Store exclusive. This is part and parcel of Dr. Dre’s newfound status as Apple executive, as was the album’s announcement, just a week before its release, on Dre’s Beats One show.

The theatricality of that move is not the only thing borrowed from Steve Jobs. Dre is working in the same role of renowned visionary overseer that Jobs ...

The Chair Agenda

“The Chair Agenda” refers to the symbolic use of a Chair to indicate a process of Ascension. But this rather begs the question of what we mean by “ascension” and what, if anything, chairs have to do with it. I mean, it’s not like there’s anything about chairs in of themselves that would lead us to associate them with Ascension, is there?

Which is to say, there’s nothing inherently metaphoric about this association. Unlike, say, the implicit underlying metaphor embedded in our very conception of "time-travel": Time is conceived as a dimension of Space, and our experiences of moving through space are subsequently used to inform our relationship to time—we imagine traveling through time much like we move through space. Not that this is the only metaphor we have for understanding time. We also conceive of it as a Resource, as something to divide up, manage, and use, save, or waste.

Going back to chairs, though, there's no obvious metaphor here.  We sit in them.  That's it.  We can’t even say that the form of a chair motivates an interpretation of Ascension, like an Eye in the middle of a forehead easily symbolizes ...

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